Category Archives: prisoner

Mark My Words

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There are so many ways we leave our ‘marks’ upon others’ lives and

upon some small part of the world itself. It may be through your

writing, you have touched someone’s mind and heart. It may be by

your creating a painting, taking a photograph,  preparing a special

food dish, making something old, ‘new’ again for someone or. . .

I found the word, “mark” in the dictionary and would like to share

what meanings it has, along with a few expressions that include

various forms of the word, “mark”in them.

 

The definition for ‘mark’-

noun:

1. A visible trace or impression, (line or spot).

2. A symbol, name or other identifier.

3. A name, logo or other indicator.

 

verb:

1. To mark a visible trace or impression, (spot, line or dent).

2. To form, make or depict by making a mark.

3. To supply with natural markings, (a tiger is marked by stripes.)

 

My favorite use of ‘mark’ is the one I used in the beginning. It means

to contribute to others by making our ‘marks.’ This means leaving

our legacy and how we helped make an impression upon another’s

life. There are many books in the library which are ‘marked’ as either

psychology or philosophy. They contain the current meaning and

suggestions for leading a ‘purposeful life.’

 

I enjoyed a pastime in high school and college, along with many

years of going to my youngest brother and  later in life, my two

daughter’s races. The excitement and anticipation of the races,

builds almost like a ‘frenzy,’ when I picture their putting a foot

into a wooden block to ‘mark’ their place.

 

Then, an announcer says these dramatic words:

“On your mark. . .

Get ready,

Set,

Go!”

There are other races, such as cars, horses and drag racing, where

the word, “Go!” are accompanied by a gun shot given to ‘mark’ the

beginning of the race.

 

I have had many dogs in my life, both female and male, ‘mark’ their

territory. This was especially noticeable with my parents’ male dog,

Nicky, who would do this while we were walking in the woods, once

we ‘disembarked’ from their small RV, (actually a Transvan). Nicky

would like to sniff all the other places animals had been ‘marking’

their own parts of the woods.

 

In concert and symphonic band, our musical teacher and director

would ask us to use a pencil to ‘mark’ our parts. Where I sat, I was

in the woodwinds area, with the clarinet section.

 

Since I was always a ‘second row player’ I needed to ‘mark’ a harmony.

Rarely was I able to ‘mark’ the melody.  In marching band, we would

have to count our steps, playing different marching songs, along with

a few popular songs peppered into the mix. We would find our place

on the field or our ‘mark’ before we would perform or make a pattern.

 

If the truth be told, I rarely played the first two games of the season.

I would march trying to be accurate in the precise places I needed

to be. Finally, in the third football game I would be confident in the

way I marched and could play my clarinet.  Two guys, Armin K. and

Mike C., were the only players who ever commented or noticed. Of

course, I had my clarinet in my mouth and looked like I was playing!

 

A side note, I love details about grandparents, so hope you will

appreciate my Grandpa Mattson who would call my clarinet, a

“licorice stick.” This is a popular slang term which some in other

countries may never have heard! I want to tell you I still have my

wooden Selby clarinet and can ‘wet my reed’ and perform simple

songs and scales.

 

If you have a story about music and remember ‘marking’ your place

or listening to the metronome during piano lessons, please share.

 

The younger Mark Ruffalo, with Jennifer Garner was one of my

youngest daughter’s favorite Mark’s in the film, “13 Going on 30.”

My oldest daughter followed, “New Kids on the Block,” band for

a short ‘minute’ and liked Donnie’s brother, Marky Mark (also his

claim to fame was wearing Calvin Klein jeans. We listened to his

band, “Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch’s” version of the Beach

Boys’ song, “Good Vibrations.”

 

There are countless other “Mark’s” such as Mark Harmon who

was a ball player, actor in movies and continues to be in “NCIS.”

 

There was “Mark Anthony,” who Shakespeare focused on, as

well as his being a part of history.

 

Our great American author, Mark Twain left his ‘mark’ upon our

country’s literature. He shared remarkable stories of life upon the

Mississippi and going out West. His wry perspectives of the times

he lived in, along with honest character portrayals made a ‘mark’

upon my thoughts and writing, too.

 

I am sure you can think of other famous Mark’s to add. . .

 

There are many who enjoy the dramatic colors and designs of a

young teenager’s graffiti.  They leave their own distinctive ‘mark’

under bridges, overpasses and other cement or brick walls. I don’t

mind graffiti, as long as it is not upon a historical monument, in

a cemetery where respect should be displayed or designations of

being a member of a  ‘Gang.’

 

I enjoy when my grandchildren take colored chalk and leave their

less than permanent ‘marks’ on sidewalks and the driveway. They

may ‘mark’ their place while playing hopscotch, by putting a rock

down on a square.

 

I did not see this in the definition but do think that ‘marking time’

can be a little like ‘sitting a spell.’ It could include putting slash

‘marks’ on a piece of paper, wall or even ‘marked’ by etching into

a stone wall. The ‘marks’ in prison or concentration camps can

make me weep.

 

When I buy a paperback book at a garage sale or the library

book sale, I don’t ‘value’ some of them as I should. If it is one

of those ‘beach’ or summer reading books, I may ‘mark’ my

page I left off reading by bending back a corner of the page.

Are you guilty of this ‘bad habit?’

 

In our ‘defense,’ sometimes it is easier than getting up to

find a piece of paper or a classy bookmark.

 

Book ‘marks’ can be such lovely decorative gifts. I have my

favorites in my ‘good’ books, which hold or ‘mark’ a special

passage I will read and re-read again. I have a silky one,

a cross-stitched bookmark, a metal one with a pearl-like

decoration and I have one which is in the shape of a paper

clip with a butterfly on the tip.

 

I have marked many passages in my Bible, since I received

it upon my high school graduation. The book has ‘marks’ and

underlined places. Tucked into the pages, there are several

pieces of paper with scribbles made by my children during

church.

 

One is quite funny, a ‘bunny ballerina’ by my oldest daughter

when she was 4 years old. The other is quite serious, drawn

carefully by my youngest daughter at around 8 years old of

Jesus on the Cross.

 

Although it is a name and therefore capitalized, I do like another

part of the Bible, which is in the New Testament which goes like

this: “Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.”

 

I have to close this multiple usages of the word, “mark”

with something I really enjoy.

 

Are

you

ready

for

the

BEST

use

of

‘mark?’

 

I absolutely love going to a store where it has many large signs

after the ending of each season.

These all say, “Mark Down Prices.”

I like the neon yellow, neon orange and even neon green signs

found in different departments.

 

Now, even better than the ‘Markdowns’. . .

are the ‘Slashing Prices!’

 

 

Saturday Sillies

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The next few jokes were sent to me by my Mom. I threw a couple jokes

out, due to poor taste. My Mom’s California friend, sometimes is not

as ‘choosy’ or careful to be appropriate for all readers. I presented some

to my lunch mates and orally delivered one to the group at break time.

I asked what they thought of these jokes? They agreed these were funny

along with being acceptable and some were laughed at a lot.

 

Hope this satisfies your Saturday Sillies. It may be like your childhood

‘cartoon mornings’ or just plain give you the giggles at their absurdity.

 

Here is a series that may have been used in the old days. While I was

growing up in the suburbs of Cleveland and the fine late Saturday night

humor was dealt out by “Big Chuck and Houlihan.” Later Houlihan went

off to Florida, so it was then called, “The Big Chuck and Little John Show.”

Little John had been a ‘sidekick’ to Big Chuck and Houlihan. Then, he got

his ‘lucky break’ and got his name in lights!

This was a set of comedy sketches, perfectly timed during commercial breaks

while Grade C or Grade D movies were being shown. Sometimes, silly sound

effects like glass breaking or a woman shrieking not at a scary part, were

inserted. I am wondering if you have ever had a local television ‘program’

with a host or set of hosts, creating comic relief, during scary or ridiculously

plotted shows?

The program’s time slot was after the Saturday night news show. My parents

would sometimes sit up and watch with us, especially if we were in middle

school.

Once upon a time, longer than when I was watching television as a teenager,

this time period was filled by an even older program called, “The Ghoul’s

Show.”

Then “Ghoulardi” took over from the “Ghoul.” This memorable television

is played back, remembered with nostalgia by many older Cleveland

people. Around Halloween every year, they have some of these shows

“re-aired” or “replayed” on one of the Cleveland, Ohio’s networks. There

is also enough of these fans, to fill a convention hall with the theme

of “The Ghoul” and his predecessor,  “Ghoulardi.”

Maybe these people are in their sixties? I am not quite sure, but I have

two Cleveland friends who always ask me if I have any articles about

the convention, taken from my Mom’s newspaper.

I have heard that somewhere in Ohio, teenagers laughed at the skits

on “Chiller Thriller Theater.” The Big Chuck and Houlihan show would

aim their jokes at “Polish” people, so we had jokes about Polish high top

jeans and wearing Polish white socks with black shoes. Then, the mirror

balls in gardens and pink flamingos were aimed at, too. (They considered

this to be so ‘out of style.’ You can still see these in yards and also, added

to this ‘mix,’ sometimes a goose with different holiday costumes.) They

narrowly missed the censors, with several ‘edgy’ Polish sausage jokes, too!

 

Anyway, since my youngest daughter is a ‘blonde,’ who is kind of ‘spacey’

we have changed these “Polish jokes” over the years, to Blonde Jokes. The

next ones will be labeled, “silly man” or “silly woman,” and you may decide

if there needs to be a different label, when you go to retell them! This series

was a ‘hit’ among the break time group, including Melvin, Tammy, Corey,

Felda and Trevinal. Felda said in the Philippines, their way of making fun

of someone is o begin the joke, “The Tourist. . .” (walked into a bar or

whatever.)

 

A ‘silly man’s’ dog went missing and he was frantic.

His wife said, “Why don’t you put an ad in the paper?”

He does, but two weeks later the dog is still missing.

“What did the ad say?” The wife questioned her husband.

“Here boy!” he replied.

(Instead of ‘silly,’ he is ‘clueless!’)

 

A ‘silly woman’ is in jail.

The guard looks in the cell and sees her hanging by her feet.

“Just WHAT are you doing there, missy?”

The ‘silly woman’ responded, “I am hanging myself.”

The guard told her, “It should be around your neck.”

The ‘silly lady’ says, “I tried that, but then I couldn’t breathe.”

(Groan!)

 

A ‘silly’ tourist asks a ‘silly’ tour guide,

“Why do scuba divers always fall backwards off their boats?”

The guide who was ‘pulling the tourist’s leg’ answered,

“If they fell forward, they’d still be in the boat!”

 

This story is called,

“The Light Turned Yellow.”

The light turned yellow, just in front of him.

He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk,

even though he could have beaten the red light.

He could have accelerated right through the

intersection.

 

Behind him, the tailgating woman was furious and

honked her horn,

she yelled out profanities,

as she missed her chance to get through the

intersection. She ended up dropping her cell

phone and makeup, too.

 

As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap

on her window and looked up into the face

of a very serious police officer. The officer

ordered her to exit her car with her hands up.

 

He took her to the police station where she was

searched, fingerprinted, photographed and placed

in a holding cell.

 

After a couple of hours later, a policeman approached

the cell and opened it up.  She was escorted back to

the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting

with her personal effects.

 

He said, “I’m very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled

up behind your car while you were blowing your horn,

flipping the guy off in front of you and cussing a ‘blue streak’

at him.

 

Pause.

 

“I noticed the nice bumper stickers on the back of your car. You

have “Choose Life,’ “Follow me to Sunday School,” a “Be Kind to

Animals” emblem and you have a ‘Baby on Board,’ sticker also.”

 

Pause.

 

“So, naturally I assumed you had stolen the car!”

 

The last story of the day may offend a few people, but remember my 85

year old Mom thought this was “worthy” of putting in my blog. You may

just want to skip it!

 

“Nature Lover”

 

A woman who was a ‘tree loving, tree hugging, anti-gun possession’

native of Los Angeles purchased a piece or plot of timberland up north

in the state of Washington.

There was a large tree on one of the highest points of the tract.

She wanted a good view of the natural splendor of her land, so she

decided to climb the majestic tree.

 

As she neared the top of the tree, she encountered a spotted owl that

attacked her.

In her haste to escape, the woman slid down the tree to the ground.

She got many splinters in her crotch, and in considerable pain she

drove to the nearest hospital.

She went into the ER and told the doctor that she was an environmentalist,

anti-guns and anti-hunting person, who had recently bought some land

in the area. She described the spotted owl incident and proceeded to tell

the doctor how she got all the splinters in her crotch.

The doctor listened to her story with great patience and then told her he

would be right back, to wait in the examining room #1.

The woman sat, read magazines, got up and sat back down. She used the

restroom and finally, three hours later, the doctor reappeared.

 

The upset woman exclaimed, “What took you so long?”

 

The doctor from Washington State, where he enjoyed going out in nature

and hunting during the appropriate season, but also was not pleased with

her views said:

“Well, I had to get permits from the  Environmental Protection Agency,

the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.”

 

The angry woman shouted, “Why on Earth did you have to do that!?!”

 

“These were the contacts I had to get permission from to remove ‘old

growth timber’ from a ‘recreational area’ so close to a ‘waste treatment

facility.'”

 

Now, that was funny after all, wasn’t it?

I am chuckling and I knew the punch line, anyway!

Do you have a ‘safe’ and non-derogatory ‘label’ for the one who is the

‘brunt’ of your family jokes?

As I mentioned, we used to tease my youngest daughter who took after my

Swedish Grandpa M. with blonde hair. She seriously was in high school  one

time when over a holiday we were playing Rummy 500. She asked this ‘silly’

question: (We don’t call our own family members ‘dumb’ or ‘stupid.’)

“How many cards are in a set and how many cards are in a pair?”

 

In the old days, I enjoyed the Road Runner, Poor Wily Coyote, Mr. Magoo, and a

puppet show called Kukla, Fran and Ollie.  These days, I would recommend the

NBC Saturday Morning Cartoons, with “Zou” a zebra with an intergenerational

family, “Chica,” the “Costume Shop” and “Noodle and Doodle.”

 

Have a fun-filled weekend, my friends out there, wherever your ‘sillies’ take you!

 

 

 

 

 

Some Humor among the Sarcasm

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I laughed at a real life news story, where a mother of four children

came out from shopping with her kids, of one of those ‘box stores,’

having a cart load of groceries and necessities. She walked over to

where her car was supposed to be, and it was gone!

Stolen!

She managed to catch a person who allowed her to use their phone.

She called “9-1-1” and then turned to the sympathetic man, who had

been asking, “What else he could do?”

 

The single mother, smiled, as she asked him,

“One more favor, may I use your cell  phone just one more time?

It’s local!”

 

She then asked her kids and the man to move away.

Go back on the sidewalk and get far away.”

Again, she promised to make it quick!

 

This true story was told on the news on Monday, so there may even be a

video of the next part of the story. . . You know how Youtube catches the

news!

 

The woman called her own cell phone, knowing she had left it in the cup

holder. Like idiots, the thieves opened her phone and asked, “Hello?”

She blurted out a blazing trail of swear words, saying that she was a

single mother with four kids and “Why in the world would you choose

my  ‘piece of junk’ car to steal, anyway?”

 

She then added to the unfortunate robbers of her van, “You morons,

I know that my phone has some kind of a chip in it for locating where

you are at. Get back here NOW!”

 

Supposedly, the van was returned, before the police had arrived, and

they even handed her the keys before they took off, through the busy

shopping plaza, on foot.

I was smiling all the way to work on Monday, due to this genius move

by a desperate single Mom!

 

Another funny part of the news was that supposedly “Mr.T” had to show up

at his local courthouse, since he got an official letter telling him the date to

go and serve  on Jury Duty! He actually  was dismissed. He was very

disappointed that he was not asked to serve on a case. There was a group

of people in the waiting room, having coffee and talking to him. They had

some selfies taken with “Mr. T,” too. The funny thing that someone asked

him, was would he ‘pretend hit him,’ posing for a picture. Now, the radio

announcer for this ‘news flash,’ used a comical voice, imitating “Mr. T.”

in his response,

(Using the unique and amusing way that “Mr. T.” use himself  in the third

person, too.)

“Mr. T.”  cannot look like he is hitting you, because “Mr. T.” don’t want any

trouble with the ‘po-lice.'”

Of course, he did not actually say this but the gist of the situation is true,

that a young man wanted him to pretend fight with him, for his cell phone

but “Mr. T.” politely declined and instead gave him a hug.

 

Now  this one is from my friend, Melvin, who was on a ‘rant’ so excuse the

angry sarcasm. Our mutual young friend, Cody, who we have both given rides

home, in the heated afternoons and early evenings, after what we consider

‘grueling’ days, got too many ‘points’ and lost his job.

Here is the way the excited tone and words were exchanged in the parking

lot today:

Melvin uses a Martin Lawrence/Chris Tucker shrieking voice that is very

indignant in this rampage:

“So, Robin, we have three situations here. All three are given the exact SAME

Number of Points, am I clear on this?

First, Tina, who is a ‘white girl,’ gets 9 points but has no other points so she

gets to keep her job, after hitting a security guard and leaving.

(And honest to Pete, he did add this ‘racial’ clarification. Sorry, don’t be too

offended because under the rant, there is an element of truth. I am upset, too.)

Second, our good friend, Peggy, turned 60 and we had a grand party for her,

but she gets assigned to using one of those awful heavy bulk riding machines.

(He is really stretching the high pitched tone, which makes me laugh, despite

myself.)

Poor Peggy, unwittingly trips over her feet getting off the machine, falls and

hits her head on the concrete, and gets the SAME number of points, ‘white

girl’ gets no breaks. 9 points! She had to go to the hospital, get X-rays and

set up for an MRI tomorrow, and she will get Workman’s Comp, which means

she will not have to pay for this accident, EXCEPT Peggy will have to be careful

for the rest of the next 12 months, or she will lose her job for hitting her head.

Do I have this right, Robin?”

I looked at him, expressing disgust with the unfairness of these two very different

situations. Peggy should not have had to be on equipment, without any kind of

re-training. She should not get any points, in my opinion! (And Melvin’s, too.)

Then Melvin concludes his story, with his agitated distorted voice, since you

would think normally he were an “upper crust” New Englander, being raised

by his island parents, going to school in Boston and having served in the Army

in Europe:

“Robin, my man Cody, arrives late to work and has accumulated the one point

for poor attendance, Right? Then, my good boy who is very good in his position

in Heavy Bulk, is parking his equipment, runs the metal fork into a metal rack.

He is done with his work, just parking it. There rings out a metal ‘Clash!” and

someone runs to the Bin Order Filler office, someone who for some Ungodly,

Unholy reason ‘has it out for my black young friend, my ‘brother’ Cody gets

9 points today and is ‘walked out,’ like a common criminal!”

Tammy and I have listened to Melvin’s tirade. We have had sympathy for

Tina (awhile back her hit and run was a subject of a post) and Peggy, just is

devastated, having never received more than 2 points in the 15 years of working

here.

Tammy was the one who stopped laughing over Melvin’s hysterical rendering

of the unfairness of it all, first. I was just shaking my head. I have a feeling that

Peggy’s sister or brother, both having been to college and have attorneys, will

be looking for a settlement. This will all ‘back fire’ on the administration. I just

hope that Peggy will come back since she has not reached 62 nor retirement age.

Melvin’s summary is (again NOT politically correct), “So, if you are a ‘white lady,’

you can hit a security guard, leave the scene of the crime, keep your job and not

serve time. You get 9 points.

You be a ‘white lady,’ you have been getting a little on the ‘old’ side of things,

you trip and fall, hurt your own self, and get 9 points.

Then, you show up late once for work, as a black boy needs his sleep, you get

1 point. You hit a rack, no injuries whatsoever, no one even close by, you make

some noise, someone notices, and you get reported on. You get 9 points, make

it to that darn 10 you lose your job!! Gimme justice!”

 

Melvin wanted to come up with a better ‘punchline,’ but this was it:

“The inequitable number of ‘9’ must have been pulled out of someone high up in

the organization, to be used three times in three different situations. They must

have pulled it out of their high falutin’ behinds!”

If you had heard his vocal impression of the irritated actors then you may be

laughing. (I think he does a great job of Chris Tucker, from those movies with

Jackie Chan.)

But you know this one is not a laughing matter!

As Melvin got into his car, he raised his arm in the old “Black Power” fist

and said, “I want Justice for my man, Cody!!”

 

The continuing saga of  work, just glad I have received no points this year!

If you are a minute late from lunch you earn a ‘point’ and are considered,

‘tardy.’ If you miss work on a day that you are supposed to have a doctor’s

excuse, (Mondays and Fridays) you will earn that random number of 9 points.

 

 

Letters from Our Soldiers

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A man who collects letters from those wartime men and women

who died, gathered them together to donate a huge amount to

a university. Andrew Carroll, editor of the New York Times

best-sellers, “War Letters” and “Behind the Lines,” donated

his collection of 100,000 letters to Chapman University in

Orange, California.

For those of you who liked “Reader’s Digest” magazine and

their equally valuable reading place, “Reader’s Digest

Condensed Books,” I would like to share that I dreamed of

having a position and getting paid for working for one of

those highly esteemed reading sources. I always thought

what an interesting job it would be to ‘cull’ and ‘sort’

through newspapers, magazines and newly published books to

discover which ones would be worthy of being condensed and

read by millions of readers.

After all my days in doctor’s offices and hospitals with my

youngest daughter, (who has lived with JRA since she was 11,

diagnosed at age 13) I would like to nominate those special

and easily read magazines for some kind of Pulitzer Award!

The books were ones I could take to a babysitting job, while

12 and up, read one or two of the ‘books’ encased in those

esteemed volumes and feel I was ‘in the know’ for a time, on

what was considered popular literature, nonfiction and other

kinds of writings. They sometimes led me back to the library

to get the complete book, wanting more details.

What I am doing today is presenting you with an article and

a lead on some books, which may ‘whet your appetite’ for more!

I am considering myself, ‘duly elected’ to this position and

consider finding these ‘gems’ to share with you. In each letter,

there is a story.

Had my cousins written during their Viet Nam War experiences and

shared the letters with my mother, she would have kept them. I

wish I knew more of their experiences.

I will always remember when my twin second cousins, Johnny

and Eddie, came back from the Viet Nam War. My cousin, Ed, went

back to being a pharmacist at Tuck’s Pharmacy, located in the

small, notable town of Rockport, Massachusetts. My cousin, John,

came back to California, briefly found out that his wife had

been unfaithful, and left the West coast permanently. It was my

16th summer, the one my parents let me go work at the candy

counter, learning how to be independent since my Great Aunt Dot

and Great Uncle George, gave me working hours, dinner hour and

the curfew of 10 p.m. during the week, 11 p.m. during the weekend.

I learned firsthand about PTSD, through deep and dark discussions

with Johnny. He was not happy with his war experiences. I wish now,

that I had written notes down, during that three month period.

His life irrevocably changed, whereas his twin brother, who had

been in the ‘medic’ field tents and not in direct contact with

weapons. No, he just handled their aftermath results, seemingly

unscathed.

Andrew Carroll has collected letters from the Revolutionary War,

the Civil War, WWI and WWII, Korean War, the Gulf, Afghanistan and

Iraqi skirmishes, too.

1. A Revolutionary War letter~

Writing from father to son, James Williams began a letter to Daniel,

on June 12, 1779:

“This is the first chance I have had to write you. I am, by the cause

of Providence, in the field in defense of my country.” He describes

missing his children and wife. I love the way he shows his emotions

about her,

“Your mother, who sits like a dove that has lost its mate, having the

weight of the family on her shoulders.”

Sadly, James died at the Battle of Kings Mountain in South Carolina.

He had written these foreboding words,

“The uncertainty of life ought to induce every man to prepare for

death.”

2. A Civil War letter~

When a soldier has been mortally wounded, their words are even more

heart-breaking, since time is slipping away from them. Here is a part

of a letter from John Ross Wallar, who volunteered to be a drummer boy,

in the Civil War. This is most sad, since he was only 15 years old.

He dictated these words in a short letter, sent to his family:

“Dear Sister, Father, Mother and Friends,

I received your letter, but I don’t think I ever shall see another

that you write. This is Friday night. But I don’t think I will live

to see morning. But my kind friends, I am a soldier of Christ. I

will meet you all in Heaven. My leg has been taken above my knee. I

am dying, at this time. So don’t mourn after me. For I have bled and

died for my country.

May God help you all to pray for me. I want you all to meet me in

Heaven above…

My wound dresser is writing this letter.

Write to Alexander Nelan, for I won’t live till morning.

So goodbye, my friends. May God be with you

all. God bless my poor Soul.”

3. A WWI letter (in France)~

On September 11, 1918, a Columbia University student who had volunteered

for service, leaving school. Sgt. David Ker sent a letter to his mother

the day before the attack on Saint-Mihiel, France. He wanted to keep his

family’s spirits up:

“Tomorrow the first totally American drive commences, and it gives me

inexpressible joy and pride to know that I shall be present to do my

share….Should I go under, therefore, I want you to know that I went

without any terror of death and my chief worry is the grief my death

will bring to those so dear…”

4. A WWII letter~

Tommie Kennedy, 2nd Lt., only 21, knew he would not come home alive.

He was captured by the Japanese at Corregidor and spent nearly 3 years

as a P.O.W. He was ‘fatally malnourished and incarcerated on a ship.’

Kennedy scribbled a farewell message to his parents on two family

photographs:

“Momie & Dad:

It is pretty hard to check out this way without a fighting chance

but we can’t live forever. I’m not afraid to die, I just hate the

thought of not seeing you again.

Buy Turkey Ranch with my money and just think of me often while

you are there… make liberal donations to both sisters…

I guess you can tell Patty that fate just didn’t want us to

be together…

Hold a nice service for me in Bakersfield and put head stone

in new cemetery…

Loving and waiting for you in the world beyond.”

This letter was smuggled from one POW to another and it was

finally mailed, getting there in late 1945. Four years after

Tommie had left home to be in the service.

5. A Vietnam War letter~

Lt. Dean Allen wrote to his wife, Joyce, on July 10, 1967.

“…Being a good platoon leader is a lonely job…” Pondering his

position and not being able to discuss things with her, he said,

“I guess it (writing a letter) helps a little though because you

are the only one I would say these things to. Maybe sometime I’ll

even try to tell you how scared I have been or now… Sometimes,

I wonder how I’ll make it. My luck is running way too good right

now. I just hope it lasts…”

He tells his wife, “I love you with all my heart.” Four days later,

Dean stepped on a land mine.

6. An Afghanistan War letter~

Mainly during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, service members have

usually ‘Skyped’ or emailed letters. There have been some exceptions,

for which it helps for posterity’s sake, to have them as examples of

this period in wartime. Sgt. Josh Harapko, with the 10th Mountain

Division, preparing to be part of coalition forces, for Operation

Anaconda, was 23 years old. A major assault on the Taliban and al-Qaida

was planned, before advancing into one of the worst Afghan campaigns,

he wrote this letter to his mother dated March, 2002:

“Dear Mom,

I’m writing this letter before I leave. I couldn’t say what I

wanted to over the phone. First I want to say I love you so much.

You were always there for me even though I would never talk about

my problems.

Second you gave me the options to be a man, giving me slack in the

rope to try to make the right decisions. No matter what you always

believed in me, no matter how much of a punk I was to you…

I don’t want you to worry about me. (I know you will cause I’m your

son.)

Mom, I’m not afraid to die for something that is right… I just hope

that I made you proud… I’ll always be with you…”

This young man, Josh, survived combat in Afghanistan but died exactly

one year later, on March 11, 2003. His Black Hawk helicopter crashed,

during a training mission at Fort Drum, N.Y. Shortly before he died,

he had given his mother this letter. She cherishes it.

The words of the nearly dying and the ones who fought for our country

are very brave and sure in their convictions. I am in awe and amazement;

there is such selfless-ness through their written correspondences.

Andrew Carroll’s words are good ones to close this article and to give

a summarization:

“On a more personal level, these correspondences provide a tangible

connection to the past and humanize our men and women in uniform,

capturing their distinct personalities, experiences and aspirations.

Through their words, we see them as more than just soldiers, Marines,

airmen and sailors. They are a parent, a sibling, a child, a spouse,

a fiancé or a best friend.”

May this fine and early tribute, through Andrew Carroll’s words,

to all of our servicemen and women, living and gone ahead, a week

early…

for Memorial Day, 2014.